Football is back, and what a way does it begin with a solid win over the Titans 34-13!
Lets get started shall we?
On offense the pats look better than last year. Lloyd made some great plays, and all talks of Brady and Lloyd missing connection by some are silenced. Hernandez made some very good plays, Gronk is Gronk in all mighty form, Brady played like Brady, and overall just a really productive day.
The star on offense however was Ridley. We knew Ridley has that great potential, and after last season we had good reason to have faith in Ridley. After a solid preseason, Ridley ran all over the Titans defense, making great one step cuts, breaking tackles with his big frame, and showing off his second gear as he broke off run after run keeping the defense honest.
A special mention goes out to Lloyd. After the first mis-hap with Brady, both Lloyd and Brady connected on multiple times. While we would have liked to have seen him catch a deep pass for a TD, watching his body control and route running just makes me all warm and fuzzy.
Another special mention goes out to the OL. Overall a solid day, allowing one sack against an EXTREMELY good pass rusher in Wimbley.
Biggest disappointment is Welker. Welker was limited to 3 catches, and that is in itself very surprising. It probably has to do with a more balanced offensive attack (ie. more runs) and Lloyd taking targets away from Welker. All in all though, I don't expect Welker to get under 5 catches a game very often.
Moving onto the defense, its safe to say that it mat the expectation of some, exceeding with others. The stars on defense was notable Hightower and Jones. Jones has gathered a few pressures, as well as a sack causing a fumble (which was returned by Hightower). Not only that, but his edge was SET. SEALED. Very solid debut for Chandler. As for Hightower, the guy has mad plays ALL over the field. He was blitzing up the middle, getting a couple pressures out of it, he was chasing down guys in the flats, and getting involved everywhere making a difference.
A special mention goes out to Tavon Wilson, Devin McCourty, an Jermaine Cunningham. Tavon showed some good vision in the secondary, good ball skills on his first career INT, and showed very nice tackling technique. Devin McCourty SHUT HIS MAN DOWN all night long. Probably only 3 targets toward him (one being a PI though, and one being a completion but not for much yards). McCourty did very well today, and nearly grabbed his first INT of the season. Jermaine Cunningham is making the case to start over Nink yet again. Cunningham gathered himself a sack, sealing the edge, and getting some pressure. Solid day for CUnningham just being a rotation guy.
Most disappointed will have to be Ninkonvich. Nink set the edge fine, however his pass rush was non existant. If he doesn't step up soon, Cunninham could take his job.
Overall with the defense though, it was a solid day. We held the Titans to only 13 points, under 300 passing yards (under 300 yards total I believe), and the run defense was STOUT. Much like we have though, and moreso. Chris Johnson? With 11 carries a mere FOUR YARDS ON THE DAY. The run defense was like a wall, and the Titans running game was like soft pillow trying to plow through it. No running game. Nothing. Zero. Run defense looks godly. I know Titans fans, and even myself, knows that the Titans run blocking is alright, so perhaps I may be overreacting. But when you have Chris "Speedy Gonzalez" Johnson to only 4 yards on 11 attempts, and we as pats fan KNOWINGLY that our run defense is going to look stout this year, I won't be surprised if we end up top 5, or even #1. Just a tremendous group all around.
We grabbed some pass rush today, but more would be nice. Our pass defense was up and down, but one could argue that they played looser coverage toward the end. It felt like the middle of the field looked more exposed than earlier in the game. The idea behind this would be to run out the clock, while not giving up the big play. This would, essentially, mean that although the Titans are driving down the field, they are eating upa ton of time (one drive was unsuccessful with that though).
My prediction was 34-20. Instead, the game ended up being 34-13. So close, but I'm not complaining. :)